The Blue Economy: Case 61: Jewelry Made of Rice
Pearls are an excellent example of a luxury product which originally could only be afforded by the very wealthiest. Later on, the over-exploitation and cultivation of pearl oysters endangered the oceans and their fauna. Finally the pearls could be produced at industrial scale for the masses.
A new luxury item could be gems made of silicon carbide. This material can be used in industry as well as in jewelry. Up to now, the raw material was obtained by expensive and energy intensive mining. However the easier and cheaper method is the production of SiC from rice husks, an agricultural by-product considered as waste and available in huge amounts.
Similar to the case of pearls, the business strategy is meant to be the production of small amounts of highly priced jewelry within a small area. This jewelry industry is now being combined with broader programmes to economically support rice farmers in Bhutan and will be presented next year to the public worldwide.
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